tv Dateline NBC NBC March 6, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
next. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester holt, reporting from new york for all of us at nbc news, good night. horizontals are a no. a big no. >> they're mean girls. >> you need a bigger size? >> and malicious guys. >> you look like a little sissy girl. >> teenage bullies. >> can you throw the ball like a man, dude. >> tonight they're part of our hidden camera test. >> are you color blind? >> re's the question, would your teen stop them or join them? >> look at my son's face. oh, he is so uncomfortable. >> our cameras are secretly rolling while their parents are secretly watching. face to face with a bully. >> you can see how they're ringing her in. >> see what they did. >> there are hidden cameras. >> i know, i'm sorry. >> my gosh. >> what about your kids.
>> let's see what happened. "my kid would never bully." good evening and welcome to "dateline." i'm ann curry. president obama is taking on bullies, planning a conference to focus in our schools and tonight we take an in-depth look at the issue with the help of hidden cameras, typical teenagers and willing parents. you'll see how teens react when confronted with bullying. it's an eye opener for kids and their parents. here's kate snow. >> when you're bullied, you feel worthless. >> reporter: the stories are heartbreaking. >> i've been called names like ugly or stupid. >> reporter: kids taunted and teelzed. >> i don't like rachel here because she's fat. >> fag, queer. >> reporter: afraid to go to school. >> imi'm always scared what will happen the next day if i get beat up.
>> reporter: it's been called a national epidemic, a crisis, bullying linked to failing grades, depression and in extreme cases even suicide. as parents we do our best to protect our kids against bullies and like to think "my kid would never become a bully," but with one in three middle and high school students bullied at school there's a good chance our kids will see it happen and we won't be there to help them. have we taught them what to do when the bullying starts? would he or she step in or join in? tonight with the help of some very brave moms and dads who are looking for a learning experience, we'll turn our hidden cameras on bullying. >> you suck. throw it like a man. >> reporter: the parents will watch as their teens find themselves smack in the middle of what they think is vicious bullying. >> move! >> it's seeing if everything we talked about and taught them all these years they're actually going to do. >> i don't want it like that.
>> from aggressive boys picking on the weaker kid. >> whoa. >> to mean girls targeting clothes. >> wait i have a question, are you color blind. >> and weight. >> do you need a bigger size? >> the question tonight, what will these kids do, the bystanders, the ones watching. >> bystanders are absolutely the most critical part of stopping bullying. >> rosalynn weisman the author of "queen bees and wannabes," the basis for the to. peculiar movie "mean girls." she says most bystanders think they're doing the right thing by not taking sides but that's not so. >> the neutral position as a bystander thinks they are taking when they don't get involved is not neutral. it's siding with the bully. so if we want to stop bullying we really have to address the bystanders. >> reporter: and we've set up a test to do just that. we've equipped a conference room in new jersey with hidden cameras, then transformed it into a teenage girl's dream closet, filling it with clothes, shoes and accessories.
we've invited girls to be part of an nbc news story about teens and fashion. they won't know this is really about bullying. mean girl style. >> in girl world one of the best ways to attack someone and bully them is to go after their appearance. >> reporter: so we've hired two actresses to show us how it's done. play the classic mean girls, and bully another actress in front of the unsuspecting teens. and one more thing, we've set up a room with monitoring down the hall so the girls' parents can watch it all, hoping their kids would never bully. our first group of parents and teens arrive. >> hi, my name is ashley. >> i'm alician pi. >> i'm shaquilla. >> alexis. >> reporter: she has a responsibility to step. >> shanee you can't stand by and be a neutral bystander.
either you're with her or against her >> alexis' mother thinks her daughter would help out other girls. >> she's a friend to her friends and really cares about people. >> reporter: and ashley's mom knows what she'd like her girl to do. >> my expectation is she'll find a way to try to say nice things to the person being hurt. >> reporter: that person today is jessica an actress we've hired to be picked on for the way she's dressed. unfortunately, it's a roll she's also played in real life. >> i've been called names like ugly or stupid and it's hurtful. i mean, there has been people that have vandalized my locker. they've put stuff in it. people just don't care about other people's feelings. one of the struggles is really why people would want to pick on me. made me really question who i was. >> reporter: so will these girls defend jessica's right to be different? >> it's kind of disgusting. >> all right, girls, let's see what happens. >> reporter: coming up, will the
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mean girls do it all the time, pick on other girls for the way they dress, and today we've hired a pair of actresses to do just that. >> eww! i hate it. >> reporter: the victim, jessica, is also an actress who knows what it's like to be bullied. they're in a room with four real girls unsuspecting bystanders who think they're here to talk about fashion, not bullying. >> what was your point, like i don't get it. it's like kind of disgusting. >> reporter: i'm watching on hidden cameras with bullying expert roslyn weisman and the girls' moms. >> i believe she would stick up
for sun who was being bullied. >> hi, girls, how are you. >> we asked bobbie thomas, "today" show's stylist to help out. she asked them to compete to be part of a fashion event. >> every group will have to work their hardest on three tasks. i would like for to you place the outfits head-to-toe complete looks on these racks. >> reporter: bobbie leaves and her hidden cameras keep rolling. >> let's see. >> let's see what happens. >> our lead bully waste no, sir time in ripping apart jessica's outfit. >> you didn't randomly pick out your outfit, you tried for that? even if you took off the gold vest there's still a lot of problems going on. >> reporter: the bystanders seem at a loss for what too do. >> wait i have a question, are you color blind? >> and mostly stay quiet. >> go sit down for a little bit like take a great, eat some m&m's or something. >> think something through. >> they scatter searching for
distraction while the bullying makes their moms cringe. ashley's mother wishes her girl would speak up for our victim, jessica. so she's just ignoring jess, that's disappointing. >> reporter: just when it seems the girls are powerless, alexis decides to say something. >> i think we need to talk for a second like everyone. >> like my daughter said "i think we need to talk for a second." >> clearly she has a different style and that's fine. even though she has a different style of fashion we should be nice to her. >> how are you feeling inside? >> proud, honored she's my daughter. >> reporter: and watch now that one bystander has spoken the other girls pitch in. >> let's be nice to her because i feel bad. >> good shanee yes. >> when the bully tries to tease jessica again. >> ewww. >> they all leap to her defense. >> i think it really reflects your personality. >> i think it's very unique. >> that is a nice thinging to
say. >> thank you, ashlei. >> roslyn said this group proved how powerful bystanders can be especially when they ban together. >> the first person to do it is by far the hardest. >> reporter: now a moment of truth, when the grownup returns, will anyone tell an adult? >> is everybody feeling good, are you working as a group? >> yes. >> what's wrong? anyone? >> a little tension going on here at times. >> there's some tension? >> that's my cue to tell them what's really going on. >> i'm going to defuse the tension in this room a little bit. my name is kate snow. i'm with "dateline." nbc. i tell them they've been dealing with actors, not real bullies and they all seem relieved. >> you're a really good actor by the way but once i saw your face was like -- oh, like so really insulting you, then i knew that you had to do something about it. because if i didn't then it wouldn't stop. >> reporter: and even though it
wasn't real, jessica is grateful for the support. >> i wish i had somebody at my school that would have done that for me when i was getting bullied. >> reporter: but our bullies aren't finished yesterday. this time we'll make the scenario tougher and more like real life. we'll ask our actresses to try to recruit a bystander to their side. >> if a bully is complimenting your child and bringing you in, being nice to your kid if they target someone else it gets hard for your child to say something. >> reporter: the nicer the bully is the harder it is to fight back. >> yeah. >> you're trying to get the other girls to be your friend. >> reporter: will they succeed? i'll be watching with the mothers of sasha, keanna and sarah. >> hi, i'm sarah, i'm 15, i like fashion from gossip girl. >> do you talk about bullying at all? >> we talk about it a lot. she comes to me with everybody's problems and we discuss them. >> reporter: but sarah's mom isn't sure what her daughter will do when she's with girls she doesn't know. as instructed the actress
bullies start off friendly. >> the plaid skirts with the white top. >> reporter: then the bully in blue and her accomplice in pink turn on jessica. >> i'm like getting a headache from so much metallic coming off your outfit getting dizzy. >> reporter: as first the real girls act like they don't notice. >> when you wake up in the morning are you in the dark? >> reporter: then watch as one of the bystanders, sarah, starts to laugh along. >> what is she thinking? >> can you see how they're bringing her in? >> grandma knitted purse isn't going to cut it for a popular girl. >> we should do black. >> reporter: check out this mean girl trick, the bullies tell jessica to try on an unflattering jacket. >> jess you should put this on. >> reporter: then snap pictures with a cell phone. teenagers know embarrassing photos can be shared in an instant, setting jessica up to be cyber bullied later. >> why are you taking my picture. >> reporter: it's a cruel twist
and yet sarah looks amulesed. >> you guys, focus. >> reporter: a few minutes later she even helps the bullies try it again. >> will you try it on? >> reporter: asking jessica to pose for another picture. >> hold it up. >> no, i don't want you taking a picture of me. >> reporter: then something shifts. maybe the bullying has gone too far. sarah looks upset. >> i feel bad. >> she said oh, i feel bad. >> sarah is not laughing at all anymore. >> reporter: sarah's mother is clearly disappointed. you would have wanted her to not laugh at all. >> right away have that look on her face. >> reporter: when the stylist comes back in, she gets a sugar coated version of events. >> how do you feel about your style as a group? >> i think pretty good. >> pretty good for the most part, yes. >> there was almost no truth in any of that, yep, everything's fine.
>> exactly. that's why principals can say i don't think there is any bullying. >> that's right. >> reporter: time to tell them it was all an act. >> what you've been doing in here is not exactly what you thought. roslyn weisman joins me and turns her attention to sarah. >> how you describe your behavior? >> mean. >> how do you feel about that? >> bad. >> were you watching yourself and going wait a minute, am i doing this? >> yeah. then i tried to stop back and i was like this isn't right. >> reporter: roslyn tells the girls confronting takes practice. >> this mock way really helps. >> reporter: she gives sarah a chance to stand up for what she knows is right. >> action. >> silver and gold, really. >> it's different, it represents who she is. she maybe thinks she has her own dignity and she can win because she's proud of who she is and how she dresses. >> cut, all right. how did you feel? >> better. >> how did you feel when she was talking to you? >> it's a lot harder. >> there's not a lot of places
you can go when you have somebody saying no she has the right to be who she wants to be. >> reporter: coming up later -- >> do you need a bigger size. >> reporter: are the mean girls about to get meaner. >> they all snickered at that. >> reporter: next it's the boy's turn. >> take it up. >> reporter: how do you teach your kid to stand up to something like this? >> princess, princess. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues. (stan lech) acid erosion is a growing problem...
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wait, i have a question, are you color blind? >> reporter: we've seen bullying girl style. >> you go to school in that? >> reporter: there are more mean girls to come. >> vertical is the way to go. >> reporter: but now it's the boy's turn. we've rented a school gymnasium and invited a group of teens to show us their sports swagger. >> working together. >> reporter: they think it's for an nbc news story about boys and athletics. >> guys get loose. >> reporter: they don't know the gym is rigged with hidden cameras or that we've hired two actors to play the bullies. >> you're running like a girl. >> reporter: the target this time, a teen actor who appears to have no athletic ability. >> you're like a sissy girl. >> reporter: unlike with the girls, the bullying will get physical. >> do you get that? can you throw the ball like a man, dude? >> we know bullying is the
ex-ers of having more power over someone with less. >> reporter: thomas krevor is an educator counseling teenaged boys, victims and bullies to are years. he says when boys bully they try to make the target look week and often use gay slurs whether the target is gay or not. >> what are the types of words you might fear? >> fagot. >> what else? >> that's gay. >> that's so gay. >> weakling. >> girlie. >> girlie, sissy. >> reporter: the insults may make you cringe but our experts say they are all too real. >> those are words that become excellent ammunition to use to exert your power over someone else. >> reporter: the actors work out bullying scenarios. >> go get it. >> reporter: making it only look violent, keeping dylan safe. >> that sucked. throw it like a man. >> reporter: to these teens, the real boys, it will seem as if our target is being subjected to brutal bullying. >> you look like a little pansy girl. >> reporter: will anyone come to his defense?
>> my name is brandon. >> i'm daniel. >> i'm elijah, i'm 14 and i love soccer and track and field. >> reporter: elijah's mom says her son knows what it's like to be bullied. >> in middle school an older kid was picking on him, pushing him around, taking his snacks and threatening to beat him up. >> reporter: she, like all the other parents here, believe the lesson she's taught her son will make a difference. >> he grew up in a christian home and he has values and we teach them, you know, to go the right way. >> i'm curious on how he reacts. >> reporter: daniel's mom admits she has reservations. >> i'm nerve us thatous he's noo find the internal to do what he knows is the right thing. >> okay, listen up. >> reporter: we've enlisted the help of malcolm chisholm, observer of run, jump, lift new jersey gym. he'll play the coach for the day and tell them they're competing to be part of an nbc special. >> i'm working with nbc and
we're looking for three things, teamwork, competitiveness and swagger. 12 jumpingjacks, keep going, guys. i'll be right back. >> reporter: hidden cameras roll while the parents watch across the hall. the bullies waste no time targeting dylan. >> let's go! stop acting like a girl. keep it going. >> reporter: and cheering on the real boys. >> yeah, watch what he's doing, perfect right there. >> reporter: it's a common bullying technique we saw it work with the girls, getting the bystanders on your side. >> what they're really doing now is setting up the dynamics. >> you're allowed to make a mistake. just don't look like that kid over there. >> reporter: makes it tougher to stand up to the bullies. will it work? >> pick it up a notch! pick it up! >> reporter: our bystanders are having mixed reactions. >> he is so unhappy, uncomfortable. >> elijah looks like he's ignoring the whole thing. >> reporter: for now their sons say and do nothing.
the coach comes back in. >> take a breather. >> reporter: and sends them to a calf tier in a table, another hot spot for bullying. >> you got to pick up the slack. you suck, you're running like a girl. >> reporter: watch as elijah and the other boys look uncomfortable. >> you're better than this fagot over here. >> my son is not laughing, he's not, didn't have too much to say. >> look at my son's face. look at his mouth is open. >> my son's getting a little upset right now. he doesn't like it. >> reporter: but still, no one speaks up. the actors start to chant. ♪ princess, princess, princess >> the boys all stare at the table. >> you look gay when you're out there. >> line up at the top of the case. >> reporter: just like what happens so often in the real world the bullying stops as soon as the coach walks in. >> how are we doing, all right? >> yeah. >> reporter: and resumes the minute the coach leaves, but this time, elijah has had enough.
to his mother's relief he finally speaks up. >> it's good, he caught t it's fine. >> elijah just said he's fine, good, he's supporting the victim. >> throw it like a man. >> reporter: now that elijah has spoken up listen to the other boys. >> positive energy. >> all three boys try to reason with the bullies. >> come on leave him alone, we're all a team. we have to work together. >> did you hear what he just said, we all have to work together. >> he's definitely the weakest link. >> positive words to him. >> get him pumped, get him going. >> one more start and brandon moves in. >> reporter: watch what daniel does when our actor/victim pretends to cry. >> are you crying? it might look strange but thomas says he's distracting the bullies, a helpful move in the heat of the moment. >> daniel deflected, dropped down, changed the subject. that's actually supportive. >> reporter: so in the end
elijah took the lead and made a difference, just as his mother hoped. how does that feel? >> i'm happy, i'm proud. >> reporter: now i go in, but i don't tell them what's going on. at least not right abe. how's it going in here? >> great. great, fun, great workout, great teamwork, everything. >> how is dylan? >> he's going great. he's trying, doing his best. >> everybody is trying their best. >> reporter: let's see how long they stick to that story. these three boys are actors. and you've been on hidden cameras and we've been watching you with your parents. >> oh, i didn't know that. >> reporter: so does that change things when i say how was the teamwork? >> yeah. >> reporter: they're actually friends. >> wow. elijah what were you thinking? >> oh my gosh, i was starting to get angry because i was like, why would do you that to another person? i thought it was wrong. >> very proud of you. >> reporter: but we're going to do this again, this time they'll
pick on the victim in front of the coach and we'll tell him to do nothing to stop it. will that make a difference in how these bystanders react? and coming up later, the mean girls are back with a new fashion victim. >> i feel like if you wore that in 2011 you might get shot. >> reporter: they're not just targeting or style. this time they're targeting her size. >> if you knew anything about horizontal i'd say no. ♪ and i feel like... [ female announcer ] kellogg's® wants to make kids happy one tummy at a time. because 9 out of 10 kids don't get the fiber they need, that's why froot loops®, apple jacks® and corn pops have 3 grams of fiber in every yummy bowl. they're the cereals your kids love and the fiber their tummies love... which makes for a whole lotta happy. froot loops®, apple jacks and corn pops®, an oh-so-good source of fiber. kellogg's® makes fiber fun.
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spot. they think that they're competing to be featured in a show about sports. they have no idea this boy is going to be ruthlessly picked on. >> do you not get this? do you not get this? >> reporter: this time it will happen in front of our coach, and he'll ignore it. >> be a man here. >> reporter: and there's something we haven't told you. dylan, our actor playing the victim, is an openly gay teen. the anti-gay slurs that our experts coached the bullies to use bring back painful memories. he was bullied both verbally and physically in high school but the worst part, he says, was that adults often looked the other way. >> fag, queer. it was really hurtful, none of the teachers would actually stand up for me. just ignore the things being said in the classroom and ignore the incidents that would happen. i wanted to change who i was so i would fit in. >> reporter: our bully expert thomas krevor says this is typical.
he runs the dylan martin institute, the largest organization in the u.s. counseling gay and lesbian youths. when adults ignore bullying it's harder for young bystanders to step in. >> at the end of the day, the parents, the guardians, people in authority set the tone. >> reporter: so will these boys do anything to stop the bullying? even though the coach won't? >> hi my name's marcus. >> i'm othnel. >> i'm brandon. >> reporter: the parents know it's a lot to ask. >> i think he'll wait and see what happens. i think he'll just sit back and kind of take it all in and watch. >> reporter: brandon issen in athlete and tough competitor. his mom isn't sure how he'll act. >> i know how i want him to respond. everything he does is generally honorable but we'll see. >> run in place, 15 more seconds. >> reporter: we'll be watching what happens. of course the real boys don't know the gym is rigged with hidden cameras or that the coach, the bullies and the
victim are just acting. >> go. >> reporter: remember the actors will be using offensive words commonly used in situations. >> yo, queer. what are you doing? >> reporter: the actors take charge. >> none of that princess stuff all right? >> marcus looks uncomfortable opinion. >> here comes the princess. >> reporter: when the coach comes back, he does what we asked him to do, ignore the bullying. >> he's running like a girl. >> you got to man up you're on the team. be a man. >> reporter: he said man up. >> he's allowing that behavior. >> he's one of them now. >> face that way dude. >> reporter: the actors get aggressive. >> i don't want it like that! >> reporter: and the real boys don't seem to know what to do. >> i'm sure what marcus is like why isn't my mom coming to rescue me out of this awful situation. >> you wait until the coach comes in here. i'm going to tell him how gay you're being right now. you queer bag.
>> reporter: brandon's mother isn't surprised the boys have been silent. >> when someone in authority sides with the evil side, they zip up. >> reporter: now her son decides to speak, but it's not to defend dylan. >> it's just your lack of effort. >> reporter: listen as he repeats some of what the bullies and the coach have been saying. >> if you're not going to put any effort, it will bring us all down bro. >> words of wisdom. >> reporter: brandon fist bumps with the bully. time to go. we've been watching you on camera in here, there are hidden cameras, watching with your mom in the other room. >> surprise. >> reporter: were you surprised by how the coach was acting? >> yeah, definitely. i was about to leave, i was about to go tell my mom, this coach is unbelievable. >> reporter: do you think if the coach had acted differently, would that have made you act a little differently? >> for me yeah, i would think so. the coach is like the figure head of the team. he molds the team but if he would have stopped it, everyone would have, us three would have
helped then. >> reporter: our expert isn't the least bit surprised that the way our coach acted made these boys feel powerless. >> you set up as an adult right from wrong, that will not be tolerated in my mini van, that will not be tolerated in my classroom. it's our responsibility to provide that reminder. >> reporter: as for the anti-gay putdowns, the boys say they hear it so often at school it can seem harmless even though it's not. >> it's become a large word in everyday vocabulary. 'not used for gay anymore. >> okay, guys. >> reporter: we'll do it one last time but when the coach sees bullying. >> you don't got to do like a girl. >> reporter: he'll make it clear it's not okay. >> that's not how we treat people, you understand? >> reporter: will it help our next group of bystanders do the right thing? their parents certainly hope so. >> hi i'm george. >> i'm isaiah, 15 and i love to run track. >> reporter: a sighia describes
him as shy but doesn't think that will stop him. >> not something he'll tolerate. >> reporter: the coach has set the rules. >> do i make myself clear? you guys understand that? >> yes, coach. >> reporter: no bullying. see what happens when the boys sit at the table. you a >> you're not even trying, acting like a fagot. >> he didn't like that, looking away. >> reporter: isiah quickly tries to change the subject. >> i'm surprised they gave us a snack. >> reporter: the actor bullies keep at it. >> does it get your attention if i threw grapes at you? ♪ cinderella, cinderella >> reporter: and a good fight erupts. >> you're acting line a [ bleep ] loser. >> reporter: isaiah and the other boys speak up trying to ease the tension. >> guy, we need teamwork. guys we need teamwork. >> he did speak up. teamwork guys, team work. >> we wasted the grapes, they
were tasty. >> will you grow up. >> reporter: when the boys go back to play sports isaiah continues to speak up president actor bullies get aggressive and as his mom predicted he's not going to stand by and do nothing. >> try again. >> not up there, not up there. >> he just separated them. isaiah put himself between them. >> that's making me proud. >> catch the ball, man! >> that's why i'm in the middle. >> that's a good idea. >> reporter: for the first time today a group of boys is firmly on the side of the victim but now the most difficult test, how will they act when it appears he's being physically attacked. >> yo, pick up the ball! >> reporter: as the parents old their breath. >> all right, watch, watch. >> reporter: isaiah takes a risk and steps between the victim enat the attacker keeping them apart. >> throw the ball right! >> stop, stop! >> he's not even trying. from they sent malcolm in on
purpose. it got a little too hot. >> reporter: find out what they'll say to me before they know about the hidden cameras. what's going on? >> it's all good. >> reporter: it's all good? >> yeah, we're all as close as brothers, right, guys? >> some of us. >> reporter: you're a bit of the peacemaker. >> yeah, that's me. >> reporter: then i tell them what's really going on. does that change things for you? >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: isaiah wasn't sure what to do. were you feeling like you were in control then or what? >> i felt i had no control whatsoever. but i was going to do something anyway its. >> the scary thing about bullying is that it is a lack of control. it's a loss of control. the unpredictability but do you no he what you kept doing? >> kept trying? >> yeah. >> reporter: and thomas says trying is what it's all about. dylan, how'd you feel having three guys stand up for you? >> a lot better than earlier. it was reassuring, gave me hope i'd say that there are actually people who will step in and do
something about this. coming up -- >> do you need a bigger size? >> reporter: a return to girl world. this time the victim is a plus size. will anyone take her side? >> that's my girl. >> reporter: it's the hottest fashion scene yet. believe that? [ thinking ] remain calm. answering incorrectly has... but i just -- [ thinking ] ...consequences. but you're smart, right? you ordered off mcdonald's dollar menu at breakfast. got the premium roast coffee, the savory sausage burrito. everything's so good and just a buck each. you made it happen, so... you got this. he's a jerk. [ thinking ] well-played. mcdonald's dollar menu at breakfast. the simple joy of being smart.
we've been watching kids as they react to the kind of bullying that happens every day. >> you suck. throw it like a man. >> ewww! >> are you color blind? >> reporter: now the bullies have a new target. >> if you knew anything about fashion you'd know horizontal stripes are a no. >> reporter: overweight girls are twice as likely to be picked on than other girls. it's happened to rachel since fourth grade. when you were bullied did you feel worseless? >> i was bullied with mean remarks to my face on bathroom stalls. "i don't like rachel garrison. she's fat." i had no one to protect me. sometimes now i replay it in my head and it hurts every time. >> reporter: as rachel knows, bullies love an audience and our mean girls expert roslyn weisman
says those kids watching have difficult choices to make. >> we have to be able to teach our children how to navigate through those very normal but difficult situations. >> reporter: so it's back to the fashion room, where we've hired rachel to play the victim. these two girls are actresses, too. we've cast them as the bullies. the rest of the girls think they're here for a shoot about teen fashion. led by "today" show stylest bobbie thomas. >> i really need to you impress me. >> reporter: i'm with their parents in the watch room. >> i'm caitlin. >> samantha. >> chanelle. >> i'm katie i'm 14 and i like everything. >> reporter: katie's mother and she talk about bullying all the time. >> it's how do you want to live and what kind of person are you and what sort of friends do you want. >> reporter: our bullies start by cutting down rachel's clothing choices. >> i'll tell you everything i hate about it. >> reporter: two of the bystanders are quick to defend. >> if you like it, you keep it,
okay? >> positive feedback. >> okay. >> reporter: when it comes to mean comments about rachel's size, no one pushes back. >> do you need a bigger size? >> reporter: this next remark is mean girl speak for "you look fat in that outfit. >> they all snickered. >> reporter: much how katie reacts. >> if you wear that in 2011 you might get shot. that's honest. >> katie's laughing. >> reporter: how does that make you feel? >> bad. sad. >> i love my grandma but i would never let her wear that. >> what's frustrating is that we've been having these conversations since the day that she was born. >> what else? >> so it's not that we haven't
had these kinds of conversations. >> i think it's also acknowledging the power of older girls and of charismatic girls and you know what that's like when you're 14 years old. >> reporter: time to tell these girls we've been watching them on hidden camera. we asked rachel to act like a victim. we hired her, she knows this in part because she's larger, right? i need honest answers. is it harder to befriend or help rachel out because of her size? >> i would say a little bit, yeah. >> reporter: a little bit? >> we felt like we had to go along with the -- >> reporter: pretty popular girl in the turquoise? >> question. >> bye. >> reporter: katie leaves, knowing she disappointed her mother but then surprises us by coming back to share an insight that is wise beyond her 14 years. >> when i found out that our parents were watching oh my god my mom is going to be so mad at me but i went back and i said to myself i don't want this to be about what my mom this. i'm going to think about what happened in here and bring that
into my real life to make sure that i don't act the way i acted today. >> reporter: how will the rest of the girls act today? >> vertical is the way to go. >> reporter: we try it again and in our next group, we see a few attempts to defend and befriend our victim. >> don't attack her. if she likes it, she likes it. >> be nice to everyone. >> reporter: but no group of bystanders is so far able to gain the upper hand. >> let me take a closer view. no. >> reporter: then we meet lily. >> hi, i'm lily. and my style kind of changes on a daily basis. >> lily is a very unique young lady. >> reporter: lily's mother says her daughter was the target of vicious gossip in middle school but the experience ended up making her stronger. >> she's just a little more aggressive in her personality. >> reporter: is that strong personality what's needed to bring the bullies down? >> listen, do you think bobbi's
going to pick her outfit or my outpit? >> reporter: as her mother predicted she isn't quiet. >> she's just trying to help. get off her case. >> i'm trying to win. don't you want to win? >> yeah but i'm not going crabby about it. >> reporter: she gets mad. >> you need to stop. you need to sit down. >> look at lilly. >> she's getting angry. >> reporter: and madder still. >> how do i put it on guys. >> nice language. >> she didn't say it out loud. >> i'd rather have girls verbally what they're feeling. >> reporter: lily doesn't like the bullies and it shows. >> i think i need to have some input in it right now. >> no, i think -- >> she does need to have input. what did she say? teamwork. >> okay, i don't know if you don't understand this, but i've won millions of these. >> that's amazing, wow, i bow to you.
>> reporter: and when the grownup comes in to check, lily does something important that most kids are reluctant to do. she tells it like it is. >> everybody feels included in this? >> no. >> no. >> reporter: when we tell lilly it was all an act she's stunned. we've been watching you on hidden cameras in here. >> i was like you can't possibly treat another human being like that. it's awful. i've seen people treated like that. >> yeah, you snapped. >> i did. >> you protected me. >> i freaked out, i was like no! cut it out! >> reporter: for parents wondering if lilly went too far, roslyn says no way, teaching kids to speak out when they see bad behavior is more important than telling them to act nice. >> i can't stress enough to parents that yes you want to teach your child values about respecting people and being kind, but really when there is a moment of confrontation, kindness doesn't work, because it looks like it's weak to the people who are bullying. >> reporter: lilly's strong
response worked but there was something else happening you may not have noticed, an equally dramatic reaction on the other side of the room. what you'll see and hear next reminds us all why bullying is such a serious problem. >> i'm always scared. what was going to happen the next day if i got beat up or anything like that. >> reporter: coming up friday on "dateline" mystery in the deep blue sea. >> she said -- >> reporter: two newly weds on their honeymoon, a scuba diving adventure and then disaster. >> she was dropping down, she was almost vertical. i had to grab her hand. >> reporter: he rose to the surface but she never did. a bride lost with suspicions bubbling up. what really happened beneath the surface? >> the water was very clear. i could see her face. >> reporter: dramatic, new developments in a tale from the deep. [ male announcer ] it's time to enjoy dinner again.
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that's amazing, wow, i bow to you. >> reporter: we've been watching teenagers as they react to bullying, and of all the kids we've met, no one has stood up to our bullies more forcefully than lilly. >> she does need to have input. >> reporter: it was a moment for rachel, the actress who plays her victim. remember she's been tormented over her weight in real life. >> i love lily. >> she said teamwork. >> i if i had lilly in eighth grade i think things would have been so much more different. >> reporter: while lilly and the bullies were going at it, something else was happening. it showed us all why addressing the subject of bullying is so urgent. >> hey, i'm veronica, i'm 13, and i have a girly tomboy style. >> reporter: like all the parents here, veronica's mother came to her shoot looking for
information about bullies and how to deal with them. she told us veronica had been teased in the past. >> she calls herself a tomboy and that has caused some problems. >> reporter: that has caused problems? >> yes, last year i almost moved her out of school, talked to a teacher in the school and i think it's gotten better. >> reporter: veronica doesn't know we're watching on hidden cameras. at first she's quiet, taking it all in. >> they look like curtains. >> reporter: then look what happens. >> like i told to you stop already. >> reporter: veronica is getting upset. >> i need to have some input in it. >> listen, do you think bobby is going to pick her outfit or my outfit, seriously. >> we don't know. >> it's so hard. >> reporter: y . >> reporter: there's veronica rubbing her head by the clothes rack. then she starts to cry. >> this is a fashion show competition. i don't care if you like me or not. >> reporter: we should go in. we talk to veronica and found
out she hasn't told her mother everything that's been going on at school. >> what was happening to her happened to me in my school. >> reporter: veronica is being bullied and it's not getting better. it's getting worse. >> i've had it happen to me every day and i'm always scared what's going to rap the next day if i might get beat up or anything like that. >> reporter: by the girls? >> also by guys. >> reporter: by guys, too. >> one guy keeps saying things like "don't write on paper if you can't afford it" he calls me payless and says that's a cheap store to buy shoes. >> one of the ways people go after each other all the time is by ways you have less money than i do. >> i think everybody has the right to be treated with dignity, you get your right to walk down your school and not be treated like dirt. >> reporter: if she's being physically threatened report the bullies to the school and demand action. if she's not in physical danger veronica should confront them herself, like this. >> say exactly what you don't
like, exactly what you want, and you've actually got to get the courage because it won't stop if you don't. >> reporter: veronica's mother is upset by what she's heard but now that she knows the full story she can help her daughter cope. a few weeks later, we went to check up on them and veronica had good news. >> after i took this, i'm like today's the day. >> reporter: veronica found the courage to confront the bullies. she tried to talk to the boy who was calling her names. he wouldn't listen, but has since left her alone. as for the mean girls, after our shoot, one bully at school ordered veronica down on the ground to tie the bully's sneakers, and veronica did something she's never done before. >> i finally stood up to that person. i'm like, okay, i'm done with you. i'm not going to let you tell me what to do because i deserve more respect from you. it made me feel really good
inside my heart. >> you be good, okay? >> i feel more confident in going to school because i know if something happens, i'll be able to stand up for myself. >> reporter: roslyn says calling out bullies is one of the hardest things you can ask a kid to do, whether it's victims standing up for themselves or bystanders trying to find the words to make it stop. >> it's going to be really messy and going to be uncomfortable and your child is going to be stressed. >> reporter: it is only that i'm going to try my hardest to do what's right and however i do that, that is what i'm going to be proud of. >> reporter: so girls or boys, parents watching or not, we should all hope that when it comes to bullying, my kid would never stay silent. >> i would love for people to find their voice and realize that not only do they ha, they responsibility as well. >> if they can do that they can do whatever they want in life. >> that's all for this edition of